• Amanda Perna from Project Runway Season 9
  • Anthony Ryan Auld from Project Runway Season 9
  • Anya Ayoung-Chee from Project Runway Season 9
  • Becky Ross from Project Runway Season 9
  • Bert Keeter from Project Runway Season 9
  • Bryce Black from Project Runway Season 9
  • Cecilia Motwani from Project Runway Season 9
  • Danielle Everine from Project Runway Season 9
  • David Chum from Project Runway Season 9
  • Fallene Wells from Project Runway Season 9
  • Gunnar Deatherage from Project Runway Season 9
  • Joshua Christensen from Project Runway Season 9
  • Joshua McKinley from Project Runway Season 9
  • Julie Tierney from Project Runway Season 9
  • Kimberly Goldson from Project Runway Season 9
  • Laura Kathleen from Project Runway Season 9
  • Olivier Green from Project Runway Season 9
  • Rafael Cox from Project Runway Season 9
  • Serena da Conceicao from Project Runway Season 9
  • Viktor Luna from Project Runway Season 9

Serena da Conceicao

31, Brooklyn, NY

What was the first garment you ever made?

Glass-bead applique tulle genie costume with gold lame that I designed at age five for Rio's carnival.

What's playing on your iPod when you're designing?

Sparks, Sol Seppy, Arcade Fire, Astor Piazzola, Joan as Policewoman, Mos Def, sometimes just NPR.

When did you realize you had designer potential?

I've always had a sense of belonging with fashion design. I feel most at ease when working with fabrics and sketching.

Favorite designer(s)?

Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian Lacroix, Madeline Vionnet, Alexander McQueen, Issey Miyake, Claire McCardell, Rodarte.

Current occupation?

Fashion designer.

Can you describe past jobs you've had?

Custom tailor and pattern maker, design apprentice in making leather and lace garments.

What is a fashion must?

Great black shoes that can be dressed up or down.

What is your design training?

Associate's degree in fashion design from FIDM, San Francisco; three-year apprenticeship with custom leather and bridal design studio.

Have you won any awards related to design?

Was nominated for an Ecco Domani award while working at CLIFT NYC 2005 or 2006.

What are your strengths as a designer?

Draping, concept, problem-solving, leading a team.

What are your weaknesses as a designer?

Making dresses too short.

What's influenced your designs over the years?

Vanessa Beecroft, Egon Schiele, urban street people-watching.

What's your favorite material or fabric to work with?


What's the item you're most proud of designing?

I like them all.

Do you prefer sketching or draping?

Both are essential.

Do you prefer patterns or solids?


What are your favorite colors?

Gray, black, fuchsia.

What's your biggest fear as a designer?

That I'll never have my own collection or own a boutique.

What fashion faux pas drives you crazy?

Wearing tights as if they're leggings.

What's the ugliest thing you've ever worn?

Chartreuse faux fur arm shrug (remember those sleeves?).

Who are your favorite style icons?

Don't have one.

If you designed for the first lady, what would you design for her?

Her entire wardrobe. Or maybe a resort wardrobe, complete with lingerie.

What celebrity would you like to design for?

Marion Cotillard. A draped gown for the Festival de Cannes.

Who's your supermodel muse?

Stella Tennant.

What do you look for in a model?

Confidence, amazing body, kick-ass walk, attitude. (a look can be molded, a personality cannot).

If you had to name your label, you'd call it . . .

Serena da Conceicao.

If you weren't designing, you'd be . . .


Dream place to set up your design business?

New York first, then Paris and Tokyo.

Any other cultures or places you wish you could design for?


Websites that feature your work, including your own site(s)?

serenadaconceicao.com, Facebook

How were you described as a kid?

Friendly, creative, outgoing, thoughtful, tattletale.

How are you described now?

Outgoing, blunt, silly, bossy, hardworking, happy and confident.

Can you describe your family?

Honest, varied, free-loving, either spiritual or atheist.

Marriage or kids?

Engaged, no kids.

Do you have any nicknames?

Esssface (first letter of my name; not sure why "face" was added), Esss (first letter of my name), Bossy (obvious).

What's your favorite hangout back home?

My house, with a dozen friends over for dinner and cocktails.

What are your hobbies besides designing?

Riding bikes, people-watching, reading, photography, blogging for New York Times Fort Greene blog.

What are your favorite movies and TV shows?

Movies: Queen Elizabeth, Hilary and Jackie, Rear Window, Volver, Biutiful. TV: Project Runway, America's Next Top Model, Charlie Rose.

What are your favorite websites?

wwd.com, style.com, gilt.com, nytimes.com

What are your favorite books and authors?

Milan Kundera, James Baldwin, Zadie Smith, Haruki Murakami.

iPhone, Android or BlackBerry?


Fast food or gourmet?


Cooking or takeout?

Usually takeout, but only because I don't have time. Prefer home cooking.

Favorite food?

Capers! Caesar salad, Trout almondine, Pupusa, fresh plums, New England clam chowder, a perfect steak, arugula with reggiano.

Beer or wine?


Guiltiest pleasure?

Eating entire chocolate bars in one sitting.

Biggest pet peeve?

People who stand at the tops/bottoms of stairs or on street corners. You don't realize you just MIGHT be in the way?

Favorite designer from past seasons of Project Runway?

Mondo, Korto, Christian Siriano, Seth Aaron.

Project Runway challenge you hope they bring back for your season?

Magazine cover challenges. Or recreating wedding dress challenge.

Project Runway challenge you hope they don't bring back?

Grocery store challenge or any other store challenges (hardware, party, etc.).

Your take on team challenges ... love them or hate them?

Neutral, really. Understand the importance but is the show really about teams winning?

How did you end up auditioning for Project Runway?

"I sent in a video and application. I also auditioned for the first season."

Why do you think you will win Project Runway?

I have the drive, stamina, smarts and talent, plus I love the challenge.